Minister’s Speech at The West African Postal Conference, 2018


SPEECH BY THE MINISTER OF COMMUNICATIONS, HONOURABLE URSULA OWUSU-EKUFUL, MP
AT THE WEST AFRICAN POSTAL CONFERENCE, ALISA, SWISS HOTEL, ACCRA, GHANA
4TH JULY, 2018
THEME “ENHANCING REGIONAL INTEGRATION THROUGH DIGITISATION, THE ROLE OF THE POSTS”
The. Deputy Ministers of Communications
The Secretary General of Pan African Postal Union-(PAPU)
The Executive Secretary of WAPCO
Director of Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission
Reps of the ECOWAS Commission
Rep of Universal Postal Union, UPU
Managing Director of Ghana Post, MDs and Postmasters General
Board and Management of Ghana Post
Directors of Regulatory Authorities/Commissions
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
On behalf of the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, it is my pleasure to welcome you to Accra, Ghana for the 2018 West African Postal Conference. I am delighted at the opportunity to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the digital revolution and explore how we can work together to enhance regional integration through digitisation of the postal service.
 
We are living witnesses to the fourth industrial revolution, and howThe Digital Revolution is a phenomenal opportunity for Africa and the ECOWAS region.
 
The Government of Ghana recognizes the advantages and benefits of a digital economy and as part of the Digital Ghana Agenda we are embarking on an ambitious infrastructure development programme, with a national broadband infrastructure and total connectivity for the unserved and underserved at the heart of the agenda. The transformation of Ghana Post into a competitive, regionally integrated, world class, customer focused, ICT enhanced service provider is fundamental to achieving this vision. In my vetting to become Minister of Communications I vowed to turn around the fortunes of the Ghana Postal service, so this is also a personal mission for me.
 
We consider the membership of the West African Postal Conference is valuable as we embrace the opportunities of digitalisation. The West African Postal Conference recognises postal infrastructure as essential for economic and social development and recognises the importance of building an effective and sustainable postal network which offers affordable and competitive services and products, the importance of building a single West African postal area with harmonised policies and strategies and of developing regional ECOWAS guidelines for the development of the postal sector. Our membership pf WAPCO has been very beneficial and invaluable to us.
 
The postal sector can play a vital role in the acceleration of the regional integration process and this conference offers a valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience of organizational, operational and regulatory issues to help shape the emerging landscape. With the trend towards liberalisation of the postal market and the increasing digitalisation of postal products, this conference offers a vital platform for regulators to explore how regulation and policy can support and guide the regional postal digitalisation process.
 
The ICT revolution is having considerable impact on the postal sector. Although the postal service has been seen as a relatively late adopter of ICT’s, globally there is a concerted effort to use ICT’s to improve efficiency, accessibility and profitability in the postal service. Examples of innovative technologies, which are already transforming the postal industry, include radio-frequency identification chips, sensors, personal digital assistants (PDA’s), mobile Internet and global positioning systems or GPS. 
 
Last year, the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Communications and Ghana Post successfully launched the National Digital Property Addressing System, which with the National ID Card and Interoperability System will form the backbone to formalising Ghana’s digital economy.
The National Digital Property Addressing System, developed by a Local Tech Company aims to assign every residential and commercial property in Ghana with a unique identifier, which is an electronic address. This is bringing efficiency to service delivery. The launch and implementation of the National Digital Addressing System is crucial to the modernization of Ghana Post and has improved its efficiency in door-to-door delivery of mails and parcels. I encourage you to download the Ghana Post GPS App and use it to accurately pinpoint locations across the country during your stay in Ghana.
 
Distinguished guests, one of the world’s oldest industry’s, the postal service, is at a cross roads and it is our collective duty to explore how we can transform postal operations across the region by maximising the opportunities that digitalisation offers.
One of the most exciting opportunities the digital landscape offers is e Commerce. Technological innovations are driving digital disruption and re shaping dynamics between sellers and consumers. Africa has leapfrogged the rest of the world to become a mobile first market and as internet penetration increases and consumers become increasingly comfortable with purchasing online, the African eCommerce market is projected to reach between $50-billion and $75 billion per year within the next 5 to 10 years according to the Economist Intelligence unit. With extensive national networks and experience in last mile delivery, postal services have a unique opportunity to partner in this e Commerce revolution and create new revenue streams.
 
From the largest post offices in urban cities to rural outposts, post offices provide an essential interface for citizens and are part of the fabric of many communities. Looking to the future and the implementation of more sustainable business delivery models, post offices can increase revenue through the provision of financial services including personal loans, credit cards, savings and insurance products. The Post Service must take advantage of its wide distribution across the country and maximise its role as a front office for government services and wider financial services.
 
The transition from traditional postal services to a postal service enhanced by digitalisation is underway. With the right investment in ICT, human resources and infrastructure, effective regional integration, enabling policies and regulations, postal services across the region can effectively navigate the digital transformation and not only survive in the emerging e Commerce driven landscape but thrive by continually innovating.
 
I trust that members of Postal Administrations present will make significant progress during this conference and I would like to take the opportunity to put my weight behind the establishment of a common platform. We look forward to working collaboratively towards the development of postal services across the region that enhance the lives of our citizenry. God bless our homeland Ghana, God bless my Ministry, WAPCO, Postal Regulatory Bodies, Ghana Post and all the Members States of West Africa.
Akwaaba!
A warm welcome to Ghana and I hope you enjoy your stay
Thank you